Karim Benzema will miss Real Madrid’s La Liga game at Sevilla on Sunday as he completes his recovery from a hamstring injury, head coach Rafael Benitez has confirmed.
The 27-year-old striker is back in the Spanish capital after a dramatic week saw him charged with complicity in an attempt to blackmail and participating in a criminal conspiracy as part of an investigation into an alleged sex-tape plot involving France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
Benzema’s lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, has denied his client had any involvement in the alleged plot and Madrid president Florentino Perez has assured him he has the club’s full support.
The player will not travel to face Sevilla, though, as he completes his recovery from the hamstring problem that has kept him off the pitch since France’s win over Armenia on October 8.
Benitez said: “Benzema is in the final part of his recovery and we have decided to leave him in Madrid so that he is 100 per cent.
“Benzema trained, he did the work that he had to do and from there on we adhere to the club statement. I will not explain any more.”
Benitez also confirmed Gareth Bale would be back in the squad to face Sevilla and hailed the return to fitness of James Roriguez, who was an unused substitute in the Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.
Kiko Casilla will be Madrid’s goalkeeper after Keylor Navas struggled to shake off a groin problem this week.
The ex-Napoli boss added: “For me, the important thing is that James Rodriguez returns well and that he is fundamental for the rest of the season.
“I have full confidence in Kiko Casilla and we prefer not to risk Keylor.”
Madrid are level on points with Barcelona at the top of the table having won seven and drawn three of their opening 10 La Liga matches.